I have two Pi 3 running at the same time with my program being executed while both are plugged into a power source with current date and time and not connected to the Internet. Couple of days later I noticed that both pi's date and time drifted so much that it is behind by 1 or 2 days late and even the time is far off. Not only that my program, which is supposed to run 24/7, is shutdown. I am starting to think that is due date and time drifting. So, I would like to know what would cause pi system date and time to drift while it is plugged into a power source and not connected to the Internet.

  • "Couple of days later" + "it is behind by 2 or 3 days late" = the clock stands still on one, more or less. Or do you have a different definition of "couple"?
    – techraf
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 14:37
  • @techraf You may very well be correct. Hypothetically speaking if I set their date and time today and checked back two days later, I would expect to see current date and time, but I don't see that. They are behind by a day or two always. It is the same in both PI's.
    – ThN
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 14:45
  • How exactly do you run shutdown 24/7? Or did I fail to parse that correctly? Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 14:45
  • 3
    I really doubt it is possible for the date to drift that much unless the power was cycled at some point. So probably you are asking the wrong question. You're looking for the Y side of an XY problem, but you will never find it.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 14:48
  • 1
    This sounds like a power issue or an overloaded system. Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 17:57

1 Answer 1


If you shutdown the Pi, then restart it restores the time to that last saved, which it does periodically while running.

The "culprit" is fake-hwclock, although this is better than the default, which would set the time to 1970.

The Pi is designed to set its time from the internet using ntp - it has no RTC.

It is simple and cheap to add a RTC if you do want it to work without internet access.

dmesg -T | grep clock may give you some clue what the Pi is up to while booting.

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